Minnesota United's 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake featured a lot of positives, including the introduction to the starting lineup of the team's newest Designated Player Emanuel Reynoso. Less than a week after the team announced his signing and he made a short midweek cameo, Reynoso made the starting lineup and played 72 minutes, picking up an assist on his team's second goal, scored by Robin Lod.
"It’s been really great to get the minutes in. It’s been really great, the last few days, to get to know my team and start to play with them," Reynoso said following his team's win.
Though Reynoso's teammates and coach noted that time will only allow him to fully develop on-field relationships with his teammates, he has already started to win them over with his first few days at the club. Lod said after the match that he already enjoys playing with him, while head coach Adrian Heath said Reynoso's quality was obvious in his first start.
"I thought he was excellent in midfield," Heath said after the match. "We know we’ve got a quality player and now we’ve got to learn how to play with him, realize what his strengths are, front men to realize when to run away from him, when to come and play with him. That will come over time."
It was a particularly impressive showing not just for a newcomer, but for someone who had not played in almost six months after the coronavirus pandemic stopped play in Argentina, where Reynoso was playing for Boca Juniors. The midfielder said he did all he could to say fit during the stoppage in play, and felt good after the 4-0 victory.
"I was amazed he got through as long as he did," Heath said. "That’s a testament to his incredible fitness and the way he’s looked after himself, because to play like he has done — I think his last competitive game was March — so it speaks volumes for the way the kid looks after himself."
Though Reynoso's transition from Argentina to MLS has so far looked fairly smooth, he noticed differences in MLS that make it both easier and harder to adjust to.
"It’s more physical than the Argentine league," Reynoso said, "but there’s also the possibility to create more space, as well so it’s something I definitely have to get used to."
That particular transition does not worry Heath, either.
"Trust me, the physicality of MLS is not going to worry him when he’s been playing in the Argentinean first division," Heath said. "He’s going to be fine."
Heath said that the busy nature of the coming weeks, which include a number of midweek games, will allow Reynoso to get minutes and get used to his teammates. For a team looking for a boost after a poor run of form after the MLS is Back Tournament, Reynoso's arrival may be just what they needed. The group is positive about him, and it seems the feeling is mutual.
"I’m getting to know everybody really well," Reynoso said. "I feel welcomed by the group here."